Melbourne based jockey Michael Walker was glad he made the trip to Sydney to partner the Chris Waller trained Comin’ Through in a barrier trial in preparation for an Epsom Handicap campaign.
Walker was pleasantly surprised to see how much Comin’ Through had matured and strengthened up since he raced during the Autumn Carnival and was thrilled with his head second to Diamond Tathagata in a 900m barrier trial on the Randwick course proper on Monday morning.
Comin’ Through was keen out of the barriers and raced with the winner in the early and middle stages before finishing off the trial in fine style ahead of his super star stablemate Winx who ran on to finish in third spot.
While Winx was getting all the attention pre-trial and post-trial, Walker was happy to contemplate how Comin’ Through will line up in the 2017 Spring Carnival as a four year old heading towards the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on September 30.
“He trailed really well and is a different horse to last preparation. He seems more focused and was really fresh this morning,” Walker told Racing New South Wales News.
“I sat outside the leader (Diamond Tathagata) and was swinging off him trying to slow him down because it was his first trial.”
“To the eye he looks stronger but being on him and feeling how strong he was… it was overwhelming how much he has improved.”
Walker rode Comin’ Through to victory in the Group 3 $200,000 The Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the first day of the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival and was back aboard the three year old for a first up fifth to Man From Uncle in the Group 3 $150,000 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 4 at the start of his 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign.
Walker then missed the remainder of the Autumn Carnival due to a back injury which allowed Ben Melham to take the ride in the Group 2 $400,000 Schweppes Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill when he ran third to Man From Uncle again.
Hong Kong’s leading jockey Joao Moreira got the seat on Comin’ Through at his next start when third to Inference in the Group 1 $1m Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick and then Craig Williams got the call up when the Fastnet Rock colt ran eighth on a heavy track to Gingernuts in the Group 1 $600,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 18.
Walker has recovered from back and hip surgery and resumed riding at the Pakenham race meeting on July 14 and is looking forward to his Spring Carnival association with Comin’ Through.
“I’m looking forward to this preparation. He needed to find length of two to catch up to the other three year olds but in saying that, he is not a wet tracker and still ran a Group One placing,” Walker said.
“If he has caught up those couple of lengths he is going to be a horse to be reckoned with.”